Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#Multitakingmom Moment: Kids and Chores

Why are we SOOO worried about our kids' self-esteem, if they are eating organic, or are excelling at sports?  Chances are, they will NOT play professional sports when they are an adult. Chances are, no matter how much you try to stroke their fragile self-esteem ego, they will likely need counseling regardless.  No matter HOW HARD you try to shove organic, or sugar-free, whatever whatever food down their throat...they will eventually eat what they WANT to eat.

What to know what kids NEED?  They need to learn to be responsible. They need to learn to be HUMBLE. They need to learn to appreciate what others do FOR THEM. UGH!!! Is it just me?  Or do I see a generation of entitled, gluten-free, self-esteem stroked JERKS who head off to college having NO idea how to clean a toilet, change the sheets on their bed or do a load of laundry???

We are SO pre-occupied with over-scheduling our kids and shrugging off our parental duties because "susie is just so busy with travel soccer!"  Really?  I truly believe that as parents we need -- no-- we MUST teach our children LIFE skills.  I would like to say that I'm referring to changing a tire on the roadside, or cooking a basic meal, but in TODAY'S world, I fear that my standards have been lowered, and I'm referring to children making BASIC eye contact with a server at a restaurant, saying please and thank you to someone, and having respect for their elders!  (I see SOOOO many parents who let their young children run and push past elderly couples at church without a BLINK of an eye!).  I try to show my kids, and explain to them that "running past people might HURT them."  Yes. You cannot run in parking lots, you cannot push past elderly people. You SHOULD hold the door for men and women just because it is POLITE and because you are nodding to your fellow human-kind that you SEE them, respect them and acknowledge them.

So yes...I'm asking you all. Before you sign your kid up for another travel team, ask yourself: "Is my kid NICE and polite?  Am I raising a JERK?  Could my kid benefit from some down time and some good old LIFE lessons?? Pretty sure you're thinking "yes."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Raising a Generation of Spoiled Brats

Kids today are spoiled brats and parents are lazy. Yup. I said it.

I have four kids ranging in ages 1-13.  I fully understand how difficult and challenging parenting can be.  I've been "that" mom, whose kids are throwing a fit in Target and the grocery store.  I've been "that" parent on the airplane, whose kids are giggling and making too much nose.

But I am proud to say, that I have not been "that" parent, who hands their kid a candy bar every time we go to the store, or "that" parent who always brings home a souvenir from a trip my kids did not accompany me on.  I have not been "that" parent, who assumes their child has done nothing wrong when a situation arises.  I have not been "that" parent, who cooks two separate meals every night -- one for the kids, and one for the adults.

Why?  Because I realized first and foremost, my parents didn't do that for me.  The short-term solution, often gives way to longer-lasting BAD behavior.  I did not want to reward my kids for running basic errands with me.  I did not want my children thinking that if they throw a fit in a store, they will get something to pacify them.  I did not, and do not, want my children thinking that my husband and I live solely to answer their every wish, and that the kitchen is always open and a chef is willing to make whatever you want.

Kids are going to throw fits and be brats. They are doing on PURPOSE. They are testing the limits to see how far they can go!  When parents do not draw the line, the child learns NOTHING.

Don't get me wrong. There is a time and a place for punishments.  However, this weekend, I was at a hotel with my oldest after a show choir competition.  I witnessed a mom and dad of 2 children enjoying breakfast.  They sat drinking their coffee and eating their breakfast, whilst their 3 year old screamed at the top of her lungs and ran around.  The parents did nothing. They didn't even look PHASED by this behavior.  In fact, I'm pretty sure they thought it was "cute."  I did not.  Had at least ONE parent gotten up, taken the little girl aside and asked her to use her inside voice, I'm sure I would have given them the benefit of the doubt.  But they SAT.

Too often than not, I see that. Parents who SIT.  They take the easy way out.  They don't want to fight over meal time, so they simply give little Jimmy what he wants.  Perhaps the parent feels guilty, so they tolerate the public bad behavior, and instead of pulling the child aside, and GOODNESS forbid, LEAVING, they shrug their shoulders and make a pathetic excuse as to why their child is acting out: "Oh she's just tired."  We took a friend to the movies the other day, and the child spilled the entire tub of popcorn and didn't flinch.  Didn't apologize, didn't offer to get more. Just kept watching the movie as if nothing happened.  This child expected the adult to fix the situation.   These kids value NOTHING. They get and get and get without earning; without wanting or needing; without responsibility.  Not only do we create a generation of kids who expect EVERYTHING, but we've created a ton of WASTE!  How much time do we spend organizing and clearing out all the STUFF the kids have?  When is enough enough?

This type of coddling, unfortunately, continues on into teenage years and even adult-hood.  People are afraid of disciplining their kids (even adult kids!).  I see moms and dad running "forgotten" homework etc. to school for their kids, writing essays and doing school projects for their kids and more.  My kids know better.  They may think I'm "mean" now, but my goal is not to have them like me, but to raise responsible children, who turn into responsible adults!

I've seen so many adults, who have now paid the price of not being told NO. I've seen adult men and women walk away from 20+ years of marriage, because it no longer served it's purpose and he/she didn't feel "in love" anymore.  Maybe, had that adult child been told NO -- you don't leave your wife/husband and kids of 20 years because you are having a mid-life crisis, he would have been a REAL man.  But no. We are afraid to tell our kids no. Instead, we say: "Oh! Your marriage isn't good? Here's the name of a good divorce attorney. Want me to come help you pack?" *Please don't send the hate mail. I recognize valid grounds for divorce...just not the selfish mid-life crisis crap like ("I fell out of love with you, so I had an affair" crap).

What message are we sending to our kids?  That they can have anything and everything they want without consequence!

So every time I think (or am told by my kids) that I'm being mean, I know I'm on the right track.  I insist that my children make eye contact with adults. I insist that they say please and thank you.  I insist that they do not speak with disrespect towards ANY adult.  I work hard to ensure my boys know how to cook, clean, do their own laundry, and be responsible for their own things (I have NO problem throwing out a toy o belonging that has been left on the floor, outside or where it doesn't belong).  If my kids cannot take care of what they have, they need to learn they will lose it.

Kids will make mistakes. I give my kids reasonable chances to remedy a situation.  But I'm also not afraid of letting my kids feel the natural consequences of their mistakes, bad choices or behavior.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tail winds and head winds

Nearly a year ago, I was in the WORST shape of my life. Literally.  I could barely walk. I needed help showering, going to the bathroom and getting in and out of the car.  I had lost a LOT of blood when I had my 4th.  A varicose vein had ruptured in the back of my uterus, and I had been bleeding out for hours.  I had five minutes -- maybe-- before losing all the blood I could.

When the doctors told me to take it easy, I did.  I walked.  I waited 8 months before trying anything too energetic.  But ever since having Vivienne, I have felt weak. I have felt tired. I don't like that feeling. I want to be STRONG physically, emotionally and spiritually! I cannot give to others, if I am not my best.

So my goal for 2017 is to get healthy. To get STRONG.  I made an attainable goal for myself. One that I don't think is too easily broken. I want to walk/run/jog a minimum of two miles everyday.  Everyday.  If I need to use the treadmill, I will. If I need to go to the gym and walk around the track, I will.  If I need to wake up at 5:30 a.m. and go running in 10 degree temperatures, I will.

Today's walk was revealing and inspiring.  It was cold, rainy, wet and most of all WINDY.  The winds were so powerful, that garbage cans were blown around.  Mailboxes were opening, and debris was flying everywhere.  Regardless. I threw my coat on and went outside.  No hat, no gloves.  I just WENT.

The winds were to the east. So 1/2 of my 2 miles was EASY!! The wind was to my back!  I almost felt like angles were carrying me on their wings, encouraging me to RUN!!!  When the gusts came, I ran with them.  I wanted to use the speed of the wind to move me as far forward as possible!  I ran and ran -- even though I was tired...because I knew what was around the bend.  I knew the winds would change and I would be FIGHTING against the winds.  So I ran until that happened.  Then I walked. I fought every step.  My ears burned. My nose ran.  I wondered why I was doing what I was doing. I thought of EVERY excuse to quit and take the shortcut home.  Such a change from just MINUTES ago, when I felt like I was flying with angels!!

I started thinking about that.  How life can and does change in an instant.  How we shouldn't  take those tail winds for granted, and...similarly...how we shouldn't take the head winds too seriously!!!  All of it -- the tail winds and the head winds prepare us.  They train us. They make us BETTER.

So when the times are good -- RUN...when times get tough -- keep moving.  The point is to keep GOING.  The good times and the bad. They make us stronger. They make us appreciate what we have, what we've lost and what we want to gain out of life.